A Retro Americana Wedding: Ralph & Carly

Ralph & Carly love all things Americana and retro and so the theme for their wedding was easy to decide on. They wanted to incorporate the feeling of driving through America in an open top car – something they love to do in real life.  Ralph had even proposed on a road trip through Arizona, one of their favourite places in the USA. “We love Americana and we feel that there is a big difference between what is retro and what is vintage”, Carly explained. “We wanted our wedding to be all things that we love. We love nothing more than booking a flight and a car in the US and then exploring, although sometimes we end up in very peculiar places and cannot wait for daylight to arrive so that we can head out! For the most part though it’s the way that we have discovered some of our favourite places. Each table was named after a hotel or motel that we have stayed in on our trips, there have been many others but these had the coolest signs.”

The wedding was held at The Chainstore in Trinity Buoy Wharf, at the London Docklands, a venue they originally found when going to an American themed diner in the area! “Went to visit the diner there, Fatboys, and after eating more than we could handle we felt that it would be best to walk it off so we went exploring”, Carly continued. “This is when we discovered the lighthouse which turned out to be The Chainstore. We fell in love with the building and its surroundings and I immediately pictured our wedding. When we looked into it we found that it is a complete blank canvas which was music to our ears as we had visited other, more traditional, wedding venues that were dictating everything to us. That, to us, sounded like hell!”

“The Chainstore was literally a space. It has no chairs, no tables, no toilets, no kitchen: you name it. The whole thing would have to be done from scratch. Perfect! This meant that we could pretty much have our dream wedding with no interference. If we wanted to serve Tex Mex platters for starters whilst our Mariachi band serenaded the guests then we could, if we wanted a big neon sign that featured a sausage dog in a bun that states ‘dogs’ and then have a waitress going round serving hot dogs (real franks) for the evening meal, then we could. We also didn’t want traditional wedding favours so had custom retro motel key rings made for the guests to take away instead!”

As well as the perfect venue, the perfect soundtrack was important to this pair. “Music was (and is) also really important to us and we wanted it to be a feature of our day. Our invitations were sent out with CDs of our favourite love songs. They were made to look like little vinyl records thanks to a sticker we designed and had someone make. They looked so realistic that Ralph’s sister asked to borrow our record player! Our first dance was ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys, I walked down the aisle to ‘Then He Kissed Me’ by The Crystals and Ralph and I walked out of the ceremony to Bobby Darin’s ‘Dream Lover’.”

Carly wore a Candy Anthony dress and Vivienne Westwood shoes. “I fell in love with Candy Anthony as soon as I walked into the shop,” Carly explained, ” They were my first and only choice of wedding dress designer.”

Amazing. This may be the best I’ve seen this theme pulled off, who’s with me? Thank you to Ralph & Carly and photographer Heather of Brighton Photo for sharing with us today.

Supporting Cast:

Photography Credit: Brighton Photo
Ceremony Venue: Stoke Newington Town Hall
Reception Venue: The Chainstore, Trinity Buoy Wharf
Bride’s Dress & Headpiece: Candy Anthony
Bride’s Shoes: Vivienne Westwood
Bride’s Jewellery: Cole Sams
Groom’s Outfit: Next, Topman, Grenson & boutonnieire from PieceofPeace on etsy
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Pin Up Girl Clothing
Cake: Let Them Eat Cake
Flowers: N16 Florists, Stoke Newington
Hair & Make Up: Siobhan Drew
Band: Mariachi Mexteca
DJ: The Wedding Smashers
Stationery: DIY
Caterers: Total Hospitality
Transport: 1962 Black Ford Mustang from Star Car Hire


  1. Thank you so much for featuring and i love seeing your edit. Carly found me on here – so this is all thanks to you Kat. I loved their wedding and i cried during the speeches.. Red Rocks! xx

  2. Steph

    The most amazing table names & seating plan I have ever seen!
    It’s details like that and the motel keychains ( not to mention perfect bridesmaids dresses) which take this to another level – like kat said definitely the best execution of the 50s americana theme EVER, and in east london! xx

  3. lc

    Fab wedding, loved the American themed menu! Where did you get the neon hot dog sign? Love it!

  4. Nice images.wonderful wedding.i love your style. this is a perfect couple . thanks for sharing this article with us. thanks

  5. Ralph

    Hi it’s the groom here! Kat, thank you so much for blogging our special day, it’s truly an honour! We’re a bit overwhelmed to have been featured at all in such cool company on here, but to also have such nice complimentary comments from you and others about is amazing, so thank you everyone!

    lc: The hot dog sign was hire from Electo Signs in Walthamstow (http://www.electrosigns.co.uk/pages/sign-search.html). We actually almost had a disaster when the bloke there called me and said when he got the sign out for collection (a few days before the wedding) he noticed it was broken, but he managed to fix it in time. Phew!

  6. Eleanor

    I love this style!
    I am getting married in Vegas this May and I am after retro motel key favours like the ones here but can only find companies that only produce them in bulk and don’t ship to the UK! Can anyone advise??

  7. Wow these photos of your amazing wedding look great! We (Total Hospitality) were the caterers for Carly and Ralph and it was an absolute pleasure. We all loved working for such a fab couple and it was so much fun doing an American menu to suit their personality and theme. Congrats to you both once again. Alex.

  8. jaki



  9. Jolene


    Am interested in hiring this venue just wondered who helped decorate the venue if it was DIY or they got a company to go in and do it?


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